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November 2020

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Business Owners.

Business Leaders.

Team Leaders.

Project Managers.

Account Managers.

Customer Service People.

Sales People.

Customer Care People.

Account Handlers.

Are you aware that that phrase you use.

You know the one.

ASAP.

(As Soon As Possible).

Are you aware that when you say it.

What it means to us out here is two fold?

Well, it is.

And here are the two things that it means to us:

  1. Nothing. Zero. Zilch.
  2. But it also means that you don’t know what’s going on. And that you have neither the drive nor the nouse to even try to find out what’s going on. And that you have allowed yourself, your business and me, to be completely at the mercy of unnamed people doing untimed things. In short – you’re unorganised. Or lazy. Or both.

I’d much rather you said (something like):

“You know what Mychael, it’s 10am on Monday 3rd and I can’t give you an exact answer. Here’s exactly what I’m doing though.

I spoke to Bob in dispatch at 9am. Then I spoke to Vanessa who leads the van fleet at 9.15am and she wasn’t sure either.

So, I’m going to call Jane – she oversees both departments, at 10.30am. Today. This is the moment she gets back.

Then I have to make two more calls on the back of what Jane tells me. Then I’ll call you. At midday sharp. To tell you what I’ve learned.

Is that OK with you?

ASAP.

ASAP gives me absolutely no information of any use whatsoever.

Apart from the two points above.

And it also reveals that you, the person dedicated to look after me, has absolutely no information of any use whatsoever, nor are you showing any evidence that you are even trying to be in control of when you will have.

The result?

I see you as lazy.

And your business as lazy

And your brand as lazy.

So don’t say it.

Ever.

Here’s a question.

How do you feel about how you look with your eyes closed?

I think that it’s a more important question than this one:

How do you feel about how you look with your eyes open?

Not least because how you answer the second ‘eyes open’ question is constantly changing.

Because how you look changes.

And your mood changes.

And your influences change.

And who you are comparing yourself to changes.

Too many people.

Too many people fixate on what they and everybody is like with everybody’s eyes open.

And this is wrong.

Think about what’s inside instead.

Them and you.

Think about what people are like with their eyes closed.

Think about the expression on their or your face as part of the picture too if you like, of course.

It’s so much more interesting.

Not convinced?

Then go here: https://takeamoment.uk.

Children don’t plan.

And they have loads of fun.

Being creative.

And spontaneous.

Reacting to what happens next.

As a consequence of what they just did.

And making it up as they giggle and toddle and wobble along.

Planning.

It’s not that we shouldn’t plan.

We should.

But it’s worth remembering that a plan is simply your ideas about the best way of doing something.

Based on your ideas of what a best outcome looks like.

At one moment in time.

And it is definitely worth remembering that both of those things.

(The best way of doing something.

And the best outcome).

Are fluid.

They will change.

And therefore, so too should your plan.

Measuring and Managing.

Measuring and managing the fluidity and the change is important, of course.

And that in itself is a good enough reason for planning in the first place.

So that when you deviate.

When you change.

You know what you’ve deviated and changed from.

So you can adjust your plan accordingly.

And react.

Just like the children do when they are giggling and toddling and wobbling along.

Here and Now.

A final point is that with less planning.

Arguably.

You’re more present.

You are more in the here and now.

Because you’re not looking behind you at something you wrote.

About something in front of you that you haven’t done yet.

And that sounds good to me.

So maybe the children do have it right?

Children don’t plan.

And they have loads of fun.

Being creative.

And spontaneous.

Reacting to what happens next.

As a consequence of what they just did.

And making it up as they giggle and toddle and wobble along.

OK here are the lyrics.

For the whole song.

See if you can remember them all.

Ready?

Remember me?
I’m the one who had your baby’s eyes
Remember me?
I’m the one who had your baby’s eyes
Remember me?
I’m the one who had your baby’s eyes
Remember me?
I’m the one who had your baby’s eyes
Remember me?
I’m the one who had your baby’s eyes
Remember me?
I’m the one who had your baby’s eyes
Remember me?
I’m the one who had your baby’s eyes
Remember me?
I’m the one who had your baby’s eyes
Remember me?
I’m the one who had your baby’s eyes
Remember me?
I’m the one who had your baby’s eyes
Remember me?
I’m the one who had your baby’s eyes
Remember me?
I’m the one who had your baby’s eyes
Remember me?
I’m the one who had your baby’s eyes
Remember me?
I’m the one who had your baby’s eyes
Remember me?
I’m the one who had your baby’s eyes
Remember me?
I’m the one who had your baby’s eyes

Bit repetitive, that.

Nice song though.

https://www.50odd.co.uk/remember-me/.

If you’re not going all in.

You are definitely, definitely doing it all fucking wrong.

I have absolutely no doubt.

And I hope you realise it too.

Before it’s too late.

Life Is Short.

Life.

Is.

Short.

That’s the first reason that you are doing it wrong if you are not going all in.

But the second reason you are doing it all wrong if you are not going all in.

Is because the things you are worried about.

Ridicule.

Failure.

Being said ‘no’ to.

That’s kinda where you are now.

Because you’re not going all in.

And it’s about time you realised.

Henry Thomas.

You know Henry Thomas.

You probably don’t think know you know Henry Thomas.

But you do.

And when you see him in this stunningly brave 3 minute performance.

Going all in.

As a 10 year old child.

You will see why I am right about you going all in.

Because if Henry Thomas didn’t go all in on this day.

His life would not be what it turned out to be.

And – strangely – neither would yours.

All In.

If you’re not going all in.

You are definitely, definitely doing it all fucking wrong.

I have absolutely no doubt.

And I hope you realise it too.

Before it’s too late.

Here: https://www.50odd.co.uk/all-in/.

 

Some people never grow up.

They never take anything completely seriously.

They focus for a bit.

Then their minds wander.

To the next thing.

The next big idea.

The next adventure.

Everything.

For these people that never grow up.

Everything’s a game.

Everything’s an experiment.

Everything’s both a stop-off point for today’s deep dive.

And a bridge to the next thing at the same time.

Because these people that never grow up.

They soak themselves in the learning, experience and potency of what is happening right at this moment.

Wringing every last drop out of it.

Yet they have one eye on the next hit, too.

Every experience seems to feed them.

Absorb them.

Obsess them.

Names. 

There are names for these kinds of people.

These people that never grow up.

And I’ve heard a few.

Childlike.

Dreamers.

Dabblers.

Ideallists.

Romantics.

Star-gazers.

And escapists.

I call them something else though.

These people that eat a Toblerone from the middle.

(See here: https://www.50odd.co.uk/the-lucky-ones/)

These people that never grow up.

I call them,

The Lucky Ones.

This is interesting.

It’s Jonny Wilkinson.

Talking about how.

These days.

(Now he’s not playing).

He is more ‘himself’ than ever before.

‘The Early Years’ versus ‘The Glory Years’.

Jonny may also have the answer to a very important question, actually.

Why ‘The Early Years’.

Are very often so much more enjoyable than ‘The Glory Years’.

There’s a lot more besides in this very lovely 80 minutes.

Here we go: https://www.50odd.co.uk/the-early-years-…-the-glory-years/.

Here’s what being a Brand Strategist feels like.

In the beginning.

In the middle.

And at the end.

Brand Strategy.

In the beginning.

I am pitching.

And they are catching.

I pitch in questions.

(Then more questions).

Then I pitch in ideas.

Then brand theory against which to test things.

Then I pitch in challenges.

(I become their very worst client.

And their very strongest competitor).

Then I pitch in even more questions.

Over and over and over.

I pitch in all sorts of things to batter the brain of the business owner.

In the Beginning – I Pitch.

Some things I pitch, they catch.

Some things I pitch, they drop.

(Too slippery).

Until eventually, the client toughens up and catches almost everything I pitch at them.

They start to home-in on what makes them special.

They start to home-in on their essence.

The reason they exist.

The way in which they define how they are the only solution to their client’s problem rises to the top.

The thing around which we should be building the entire brand becomes clear.

And at that point the client is super-lithe.

Confident.

Primed to win.

So we shift position.

In the Middle- I Catch. 

In the middle bit.

The client starts to pitch their own ideas back at me.

(They’re more confident now. 

They’re thinking more clearly.

Thoughts and notions entering their head are more coherent and aligned).

And now it’s my job to catch.

Some ideas I catch and keep.

They’re perfectly formed.

Some I let go completely.

(Because they’re too emotionally charged. 

Or they overcomplicate things.

Or they’re just not relevant. 

Or they’re a distraction).

Until eventually.

I am left holding the perfectly formed, simple and ownable shiny new client brand.

Then, we move into the end phase.

Together.

At the End – We Pitch Together.

In the beginning.

I pitched things at the client to see what they caught.

To see what stuck.

In the middle.

They threw things back at me.

Things they thought would be good to build into the new brand.

To see what I caught and kept.

And in the end.

We start to pitch the brand out to the market.

Together.

Simply.

Consistently.

Clearly.

Creatively.

To see what happens.

We bring the brand to life ‘in here’.

Embedding it into the organisation.

And developing the best stories.

Strategies.

Tactics.

Messages and Creative.

So that we maximise the brand ‘out there’ too.

Pitching & Catching. 

So there you go.

That’s what it feels like.

To me.

Being a Brand Strategist.

The beginning defined then toughens the client brand up to competitor attacks and customer/client objections.

The middle bit identifies the best and most authentic brand because it is pitched back to me from the client.

And the end bit is where we pitch, test and hone the new brand out in the market – together.

Perfect.

As he watched the small girl
He thought he might melt
If he did what she did
Would he feel what she felt?

The Grinch had a shitty childhood.

He was an orphan.

The Grinch wanted a family of course.

Parents to guide him.

Parents to care for him and about him.

Parents to teach him how to make good decisions.

But where all of that should have been.

There was loneliness instead.

Childhood.

Children need grown-ups to help them make good decisions.

But something I’ve also realised.

Quite recently, in fact.

Is that grown-ups need children to help them make good decisions, too.

Izobel.

Since Izobel came along 4 years ago.

I drink a little less.

I exercise a little more.

And I celebrate where I am much more readily than I used to.

As opposed to constantly craving the next thing.

So even at the age of 4.

Izobel has helped this grown-up to make better decisions.

Just as Cindy Lou Who helped The Grinch.

Cindy Lou Who.

When a grown up Grinch wanted to find happiness.

The Grinch looked for happiness in some very strange places.

And by doing some very strange things.

Most famously of course, The Grinch stole Christmas.

Strange indeed.

Look Inside.

But eventually.

It was Cindy Lou Who that taught The Grinch the best place to look for happiness.

Because one day.

Shortly after Cindy Lou Who had been left with nothing at all on Christmas Day.

The Grinch watched as Cindy Lou Who closed her eyes.

Held tight the hand of the person to her right.

And the hand of the person to her left.

Look inside.

Smile.

And sing.

As he watched the small girl
He thought he might melt
If he did what she did
Would he feel what she felt?

Here’s what happened: https://www.50odd.co.uk/look-inside/.

You know the video.

Where Richard Ashcroft sings a great tune.

(Bitter Sweet Symphony).

And simultaneously behaves like a very rude bastard.

By bumping into people as he walks down the road.

A Simple Concept.

The video is a simple concept.

Exploring what happens when a man walks in a straight line.

Down a busy high-street.

Regardless of who else is there.

Alternative Ending.

Anyhow.

If you’ve ever wondered what might happen if Mr. Ashcroft did actually walk down a street just bumping into people.

In real life.

Here’s the answer.

https://www.50odd.co.uk/bitter-sweet/.